It's not a secret that Peruvian cuisine is considered to be one of the richest and most varied in the world. The variety of ingredients and influences of several civilizations, such as the Inca, the Spanish and the Chinese, have made this cuisine a favorite among foodies. Beyond Machu Picchu or the Nazca Lines, food has become a major attraction of the Andean country so let's take a tour of the most popular Peruvian dishes that have captivated the palates of millions!
Peruvian fish ceviche
This dish is without a doubt the most famous Peruvian culinary speciality in the world. It's usually served with corn, roasted corn, cassava, sweet potato, lettuce and green banana chips. The star of this delectable favorite is fish - which is either served raw, or in a marinade of lime juice and red onion. To put it simply, this fish ceviche is known as the sashimi of the Andean country. Although many South American countries, like Chile or Ecuador, prepare their own special ceviches, this particular dish's origins go back to the Inca empire and the recipe was modified after the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. The history of this ceviche is as deep as its flavors and is considered to be an integral part of the country's national heritage.
Ají de gallina
This creamy spiced chicken is another famed traditional dish in Peru. It consists of a cream or a yellow chili pepper with generous pieces of shredded chicken breast. The chicken is usually served with cooked potatoes, white rice and a sliced egg. According to food experts, this dish dates back to the pre-Columbian period and it was originally made with a close relative of the hen, called the hualpa. Nowadays, this speciality is considered to be a fusion of the Spanish and Quechua cuisines and its origins may come from a popular medieval European dish called "manjar blanco" - a creamy mixture of chicken, almonds, sugar and rice.
Pan con chicharrón
Almost every cuisine has a sandwich that is to die for and this pork sandwich will blow you away. You can find this tasty treat in every corner of Peru and it's one of a kind. Pan con chicharron is a high-calorie sandwich made with pork, fried bacon strips, orange sweet potato and rocoto, which is a special kind of pepper. The fillings are topped with a salsa criolla that is made with red onions, salt, lemon juice, chili, coriander and oil. They use a French bread to put it all together. This sandwich is typically eaten for breakfast but don't worry, it sells like hotcakes throughout the day as well.
Here is another peruvian essential that you need to try - the Lomo saltado. Between the 19th and 20th century, Peru saw an influx of Chinese-Cantonese immigrants. Consequently, the Chinese and Peruvien creole cuisines began to mix and created a new type of cuisine known as the chifa. Lomo Saltado is a much loved chifa dish and is made with strips of beef that is sautéed in a wok with several vegetables. It comes with a side of rice and french fries. The name of this dish came from the technique of cooking in a wok. Now this dish is one of the most classic dishes of the Inca country and you can find it in almost all the Peruvian restaurants.
A meal in Peru would be incomplete without this savory starter. Causa rellena was created in the capital city of Lima but has spread all over Peru. It is made from potatoes, lemon juice, avocado, chili, lettuce, boiled eggs and black olives. The filling is varied and you can use tuna, chicken, seafood or white meats - they'll all go perfectly with the potato discs. These scrumptious layers are topped with a dollop of mayonnaise for presentation and there you go! It's a dish that thrives on simplicity without compromising on flavour.